Though ads sponsored at the top of Google's results pages are the most viewed, visitors also look at side sponsored ads on their second visit, according to the newly completed Enquiro Eye Tracking Study.
Highlights of the Eye Tracking Study were released earlier this year. However, the new, 100-plus page analysis of the study by search marketing firm Enquiro, Kelowna, British Columbia; Eyetools Inc., San Francisco; and search marketing firm Did-it.com, New York, further explains eye movements of visitors to Google.
The study focused on Google, but results would be similar on Yahoo and MSN because their search results page layouts are similar, said Enquiro president/CEO Gordon Hotchkiss.
While Google visitors look at “above-the-fold” organic search results for 3 seconds and top sponsored ads for 1.55 seconds in the first visit, they view sponsored ads on the right side of the page for 1.02 seconds in their return visit to the same sponsored results page.
But the top of Google's listings is still the best place for advertisers: 43 percent of people look at top sponsored ads and 38.7 percent look at above-the-fold organic ads on their first visit to the results page. Only 1 percent looked at Google's side sponsored ads, and nearly 15 percent viewed its One Box ads, on their first visit.
Ads near the top of the results page — both organic and paid — do better because visitors start their eye-scanning patterns in the upper-left corner of the page, Hotchkiss said.
“This is where top sponsored results are located, if shown, and explains their performance advantage over the side sponsored ads,” he said.
To order the complete report, visit: www.enquiro.com/eyetracking.asp.
Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters